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'I can't be mad, I know I've got a life to keep living': Shively man asks community for help with his own funeral

With just months left to live, he says, one Shively man's circumstances led him to lean on the community for support, and they happily obliged.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A 44-year-old father from Shively said he just finished planning his own funeral—an unthinkable reality, he said, which was made possible by funds raised through the community.

"Yeah, it blows my mind," Kevin Hatfield, said. "But, I can't be angry or mad, I know I've got a life to keep living."

Doctors diagnosed him with colon cancer in the fall of 2021. He said the news felt like a punch to the gut.

"Just within that week, my whole life had changed. It was just unbelievable," he said. "I asked [the doctor] straight forward, you know? And he told me you know, six months to a year."  

It's been a whirlwind of emotions and hardship for him and his family in the 10 months since.

"It was terrible. Like, we was getting ready to live our golden years," he said, talking about his wife, Rebecca. "Our kids [were] 20 and 22. We had been together for 24-plus years. We [were] getting ready to live happily ever after."

Instead, Hatfield underwent 12-rounds of chemotherapy treatment.

"I have no feeling in my feet, I have no feeling in my hands or my fingers, the  inside of my mouth is sore all the way down my throat. [Doctors] give me as much, as much as I can [handle] to keep me comfortable," Hatfield said. "That's all I can ask for: give me a quality life to where I'm not bedridden, and where i can get out and help people."

Though as the months passed, Hatfield realized he's soon to be the one in need of help. As the costly chemotherapy treatments kept coming round after round, he knew he wouldn't be able to afford his funeral arrangements. 

That's when he asked the community for help.

"I can't believe the amount of support," he said. "You know, I made one little Facebook post, man."

That post, a Facebook fundraiser, brought in more than $10,000 in less than a month. Hatfield says the gesture was both moving and a huge relief.

"When [the funeral] happens, it helps me knowing that my family doesn't have to do nothing but walk into that place and everything is taken care of," Hatfield said. "And they get the, the closure that they need." 

He says in the coming months, his only focus will be spending time with his family and friends.

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